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When Viral Marketing Can Work-jpg

Viral campaigns can be alluring for marketers. For example, the idea that a clever marketing video, will grow on its own and yield high volumes of views, clicks, blog posts, news stories and ideally sales, seems well worth the effort.

In reality, however, homerun viral hits are hard to come by. The chances of scoring big in the way Blendtec did when it hit the “smoothie button” on an iPhone or Australia’s Best Job in the World campaign are few and far between. These campaigns have a combination of timing, humor, intrigue — and most importantly interaction.

For Blendtec, it became a contest for consumers — who could find the most outrageous object to pop into the blender. For the Best Job in the World, it was a competition of sorts, like American Idol, as people competed for this supposed dream job.

When there’s an audience incentive, a viral campaign can work. This is the conclusion I came to after my first attempt at skydiving at Skydive Orange. Everything about Skydive Orange’s marketing was viral and for good reason: people want to tell others about their adventure.

When I complete my first jump, I posted a comment on Twitter and updated my Facebook status while on location. When I arrived home, I next posted the video of my skydive to YouTube and Facebook — and then a link to the YouTube video on Twitter. To date that Tweet had the second most views I’ve ever received on Twitter.

That evening at dinner, I chatted about skydiving at dinner with my family. Over the next few days, my friends commented on my Facebook post and people at work asked me about my experience. As one individual, I estimate I’ve informed or reached more than 300 people about skydiving…and I was just one of several dozen people that completed jumps at Skydive Orange that day: a quick search of YouTube for similar videos generated at Skydive Orange produced more than 450 results.

These videos are marketing triumphs in their own right: each video opens with a toll-free number and a Web site address — and the videographer cleverly works the words “Skydive Orange” into the audio several times.

What’s the cost of this viral program? Better than nothing — it’s more likely profitable since customers pay to have them made.

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Photo credit:  Flickr, Jaya Prime (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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4 Responses

  1. accelerator


    Absolutely right on!
    My favourite viral, and most importantly the favorite of the two young consumers I like to call my sons is the Cadbury Drumming Gorilla on UTube.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy52yueBX_s
    Do we as parents and 'adults' realise just how much our children are influenced by viral? They influence so much spending (whether we like it or not) that appealing to the U16 market is an essential facet of any viral campaign. Skydiving videos do this extremely well for the U16 market and they already leverage considerable sales for indoor skydiving and a growing Tandem market for U16s and adults.
    Keep blogging Frank and welcome to the skydiving world – you're one of the 2% now, more about this at https://www.acceleratedfreefall.com/blog
    Blue skies

  2. Frank Strong, MA, MBA

    That's interesting that the U16 market is a target for the skydiving business. I thought one had to be 18 in order to jump — that even parental permission was not accepted.

  3. S

    I totally agree that you need to appeal very directly to customers with online video marketing. Presenting yourself one step in the wrong way will end badly and prove very ineffective. Another thing that helps, too, is uploading the same video on multiple sites—not just YouTube, but AdWido, Vimeo, and other video sites as well. This can maximize your exposure for only a few more minutes of your time.

  4. Tom Pick

    Frank –

    Thanks for the link back to my blog, and glad you found that post helpful. Viral marketing can be challenging for b2b marketers, but by coming up with a fun and creative angle, and using tools and tactics such as online video and blogger outreach, it can produce great results.


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